Building Internal Service Relationships and Employee Engagement: Challenge #3 of 5

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Jeff Eilertsen offers service performance insights to address five essential service challenges every organization must successfully address. In this interview with Ron Kaufman, Jeff discusses the third challenge, Building Internal Service Relationships and Employee Engagement.


Transcript

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Ron: Hi, this is Ron Kaufman with Jeff Eilertsen and we’re looking at: what are the major issues that clients have when they come and ask us for help, and we’ve already covered two. Jeff, number three?

Jeff: The third one, interestingly, is more and more clients are paying attention to the internal relationships, internal service relationships they have with each other as employees and staff but also with third-party contractors, suppliers who represent them and their service to their customers.

Ron: So distributors or re-seller or somebody who: “still you’re part of our side because we together are working to serve that customer”, you’re calling all of that internal service.

Jeff: Yes, that’s right. And people showing up looking for employee engagement, and, you know, connecting the dots between service and service relationships and employee engagement, and that what they’re realizing is that if you want to provide excellent customer service

Ron: External.

Jeff: Externally.

Ron: Yeah.

Jeff: Then that’s really dependent on how good the service is behind the scenes, in the back-office, the processes that support the people who are providing service.

Ron: So that the people who are customer facing are saying: “gee I’m getting great service, now it’s a lot easier for me to give great service.”

Jeff: Yep, that back office service is poor, there’s only so much the frontline people can do.

Ron: And are leaders understanding this, are they coming to us saying: “this is the problem we need to tackle first.” Or is that more like they come with this and we go: “well we have to fix this”.

Jeff: It’s a little bit of both, but there’s more awareness of internal relationships in partner building and service going on, which is why you see employee engagement so important, but the connecting the dots between employee engagement and customer satisfaction and customer experience I see all starting to come together.

Ron: Right, so it’s internal service experience that either creates a high degree of satisfaction: “my customers are happy and I’m happy with the relationship I have with my colleagues.” or: “You’re asking me to do better for my customers but over here I’m frustrated.” And that lowers employee engagement.

Jeff: That’s right. And it’s very rare that you see an organization that has high customer satisfaction and low employee engagement. They’re, you know, they’re

Ron: Right.

Jeff: Symbiotic.

Ron: There’s a sync between the two – I know when Harvard Business Review did the article about us on the four rules and the first rule was: don’t start by educating or training your customer facing employees, start with your internal service providers.

Jeff: Right.

Ron: So are we seeing actually in pure shared services, IT department, finance department, back-end operations, and awareness like: “you know what, we got to give our colleagues here”

Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. From both the perspective of the receivers of shared service saying: “Hey we need better service.”

Ron: “I’m not gonna put up with this anymore.”

Jeff: “I’m not gonna put up with that anymore and we can look elsewhere.” And so the shared services looking at: “Hey, we have to operate as if we’re our own company: we have to have our own service excellence if we want to maintain the business here.”

Ron: Right. And contribute to the business.

Jeff: Exactly.

Ron: So we’re seeing Chief Financial Officers and Chief Technical Officers, not just the Customer Experience Officer and the Marketing Officers who have always understood the importance.

Jeff: Yeah, that’s a very big growing segment for us.

Ron: Yeah, very good, very good. Well, no matter what your position may be, that need to consistently improve the quality of service that your people in your team provide to the other people, other teams, other departments, so that together you can provide better service to the “external” paying customer, something that more and more people are understanding today.

Jeff: That’s right Ron.

Ron: And we’re able to help. We’ll be right back.

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If you found this article useful, you might enjoy reading these other conversations with Ron Kaufman and Jeff Eilertsen.

Challenge 1: Setting Effective Service Standards

Challenge 2: Shifting from Service Process to Customer Experience

Challenge 4: Turning Customer Complaints to Customer Loyalty

Challenge 5: Aligning Leadership and Service Performance


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